Negotiating a Discount with your Wedding Venue
If you’re the type of person who likes the idea of saving some money and negotiating a discount with your wedding venue, here is our guide on what to ask for, how, and when.
Before we start, it’s a notable fact that not every supplier will be able to offer you any form of discount, but plenty will do if they want to avoid losing a valuable booking, especially during the economic times we live in at the moment, there are plenty of reports to suggest that couples are spending less on their wedding day, opting to save for a deposit on a home instead.
Some of you may be thinking that you’re not the sort of person to ask for a discounted price, many people are prepared to simply pay the asking price and wouldn’t consider trying to haggle, whether it’s out of embarrassment, pride or maybe lack of confidence. Read on and see what you think of our tips and ideas to help get a discount.
Boost your Confidence
Fear is your weakness when it comes to negotiating with wedding venues, show them your confidence and you’ll find yourself asking for almost anything, always within reason though, don’t go overboard and ask the impossible or they simply won’t take you seriously.
Shy people will find the whole conversation rather stressful, so it’s best to prepare and spend some time considering what you’re going to ask for. Be direct, don’t ask them a question that allows them to simply reply “no, sorry”. Avoid questions like “Can you do anything on the hire price?” they’ll reply with a no and you’ll feel destroyed. A more direct approach would be to ask for a certain percentage discount, such as 10% – 15%. Better still, if a wedding venue is arranging a package for you, request that they remove one or two items to reduce the over cost. Venues that offer free drinks may well not be what you had in mind, so ask them what the price would be without a free drinks package.
If you really are shy and have not partaken in any form of haggling before, then sit down as a couple and practice what you’re going to ask for, why not even pretend to be the wedding venue and test out your questions with a bit of role-playing !?
One tip that will really boost your confidence is to remember that wedding venues have full-time coordinators, and they will of certainly been asked plenty of times before about discounts on the venue hire, you won’t be the first, nor the last.
Wedding Venue Prices
Set your price in your mind.
The wedding venue will show you their prices, they may even advertise them on their website, so work out roughly what is a reasonable request for lowering the costs. The larger the venue, the more they are going to charge, so you may find you could get a larger discount. If you start too low, there is no going back, should they accept your request for a 2% discount, you can’t then turn around and say “actually, how about 5%” your credibility will be shot down in flames. If you are confident, work out a 15% discount in your head and try saying something like “our venue budget is around the £ (venue cost price less 15%) mark, could you tell me if we can get close to that?” This way you’re informing them you’re a serious customer with money and asking them for options. If they say no to that, they may come back with something less, and the negotiations have begun !
When to negotiate prices with a wedding venue
When will a wedding venue look for a deal ?
You need to think about simple economics when planning your wedding budget, if you think about it, a Saturday in the Summer will generally not be hard for any venue to fill, whereas weekdays off-peak season will mean that the venue will have seen less interest in bookings. Peak wedding season in the UK is June to September, plus Christmas and of course Valentines day, so these bookings will see higher charges than off-peak midweek bookings. An early Spring, or late Summer wedding can see huge discounts on wedding venue hire, and don’t forget this is the UK and a July booking certainly does not guarantee you fantastic wedding photos in the sunshine ! You’ll pay extra for your dream of a late warm evening outside with friends, after your wedding photographer has captured you posing alongside manicured lawns and rose bushes. Another thought to consider is, warm evenings will see wedding guests stood outside, where as cooler evenings will see wedding guests packing the dancefloor whilst the wedding DJ cranks up the party atmosphere. Which would you prefer ?
Wedding venues also often publish any late availability dates on their websites, in the hope of filling their diaries. Empty wedding venues earn nothing at all, so if you come along with a late booking, and they are available, you truly are in the driving seat when it comes to negotiations.
So how do you tackle your venue discount request ?
If you know anyone who has married at your chosen wedding venue before, ask them if they asked for a discount, and if you don’t know anyone, why not post a question in the venues section of our wedding forum.
You’ll want to visit a few different venues before you make your minds up, so compile a checklist of what each venue is offering for the money, compare packages and look for things like resident DJ’s, in-house catering, and drinks costs, all of these can make a significant difference to your bill. If you don’t have to use their resident suppliers you may already be able to find cheaper options by shopping around. If you’re considering paying something towards the drinks bill, check the prices of beer and wine at each venue first too.
A headline price on a set package with a wedding venue may look pretty reasonable at first glance, but check what you’re getting and see if you could arrange some things yourself for less.
Set menus with in-house catering often have set prices, don’t be afraid to say, “how much would it cost if I had the starter from this option and the main course from another?”, you are the customer and they should be trying to please you.
Once you’ve done all your research, you are in a much stronger position to start your negotiations as you’ll know what is and what isn’t feasible.
As mentioned, it helps to tell the wedding venue what your ideal budget is, don’t be afraid to tell them what their competitors are offering, although no two wedding venues will be the same and you can’t compare like for like, you could quote things like decoration costs, food prices, discos etc.
Put the ball in their court, tell them exactly what you’d like, and what your budget is, ask them if you can come to some agreement. That way they won’t feel like you are trying to bully them and they will want to help you find a solution to book their wedding venue. Be flexible, don’t just demand things and get upset if they can’t achieve it.
Be cool… don’t be the bride who sits there begging the groom to pay a deposit and secure your dream venue, if they know how keen you really are, then negotiations swing back in their favour and you reduce the chances of a decent discount on your dream wedding venue,
Once you’ve successfully agreed your price, the venue will ask for a deposit, don’t pay the full value and consider getting wedding insurance to cover what you pay out for, in the coming months you’ll be paying several deposits for entertainment, cake, dresses and suit hire so we really recommend wedding insurance.